Lehighton wins 2A title in OT
NANCY SCHOLZ/Special to THE TIMES NEWS It's celebration time as the Lehighton field hockey team wins the District 11 Class 2A title on a goal in overtime by Echo Bretz.
EMMAUS - Echo Bretz and Jordyn Homyak have been down this road before. So has the rest of the Lehighton girls field hockey team.
It was Homyak who passed to Bretz on a penalty corner with the latter crossing away from the goal before firing a shot past Southern Lehigh goalie Katelyn Arnold for the game-winner with 9:50 left in overtime giving the Indians a 2-1 victory and the District 11 Class AA Championship again.
"Coach Hindy teaches me to do that all year long," said Bretz, after hitting the inside of the far post running across the center of the field. "Sometimes he thinks I do it too much, but it got the job done today, working in the end."
It was the fourth straight meeting in the district final for the Indians and the Spartans (20-3) and back-to-back titles for Lehighton (19-3). It was also the eighth straight time Lehighton had reached the championship game. After losing to Northwestern Lehigh in 2003 and 2004, Lehighton won three district golds in a row, before the Spartans beat them in 2008. Last year, however, the Indians regained the crown with a 5-0 shutout win.
The Spartans actually wasted no time in putting the Indians behind.Allison Newman, a 20-goal scorer for Southern Lehigh, followed a shot that Lehighton goalie Kristina Schnell kicked away and got the rebound into the net with 22:22 left on the clock in the first half.
It seemed to light a fire under the Indians, however, as 45 seconds later, Bretz tied things up off a corner from Homyak and the battle was on.
"I think that when someone else scores on us, it's a lot easier for us to come back right away," said Bretz. "Them scoring on us makes us work 10 times harder to get the ball in the goal. It might of taken us the rest of the first half and all of the second half and then some to score the second goal, but we eventually got it in."
Homyak said that Hindy always stresses to be patient and relax.
"When they got up with that early goal, we weren't worried at all," she said. "We knew we wanted to score and we did. We had to do it right away to keep the momentum."
The Indians had a 5-2 edge in penalty corners in the first half, but controlled the ball on their offensive side of the field the rest of the game and finished with a 14-3 advantage. They also wound up outshooting the Spartans 12-4.
Sarah Keer's strong play up front was another reason the Indians had an edge in corners and also seemed to intimidate the Spartan players at times.
"They (Southern Lehigh) have a good goalie and they have a good defense," said Lehighton head coach Shawn Hindy afterwards. "I thought we dominated in the second half, up in front of the goal the entire time.
"I thought it was just a matter of time before we'd get one in, but they're a good team and anything could have happened. They could have gotten a break so we just wanted to make sure we finished it off.
"We had more space, we were able to create some corners and Echo made two nice finishes."
Part of Hindy's motivation, because the team's been having a lot of hard practices, was if they won, they wouldn't practice on Wednesday.
It's the first time in his five years, he's ever not had a practice during the season.
The Indians are now idle until the first round of the PIAA playoffs on Tuesday when they take on the District 1 runnerup, while the Spartans head for Bucknell University for the first of two play-in games they have to win to make the PIAA playoffs next week.